Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Advanced Towing System Launches at METS

Nominated for a DAME Award, at this years METS with a good chance of winning the innovation award is TowPro the world’s first advanced tow protection system.

Currently it is the only product approved by insurers for superyachts towing tenders and chase boats. 

After a 12-month period of collaboration with insurers, captains, marine risk experts and electronics installers, looking at Advanced Tow Protection systems and processes, TowPro is now the only approved system which addresses the issues involved with superyachts towing tenders and chase boats.

Typically these include craft either being lost during a tow, due to tow attachment failing, or the craft getting swamped, damaged or, in worse case, sinking.

As a result, the high cost of the loss or damage to tenders and chase boats has forced insurers to place restrictions on towing, such as not allowing towing overnight or in higher wind strengths, and significantly increasing deductibles for tenders under tow. 

TowPro uses innovative data monitoring technology to increase the awareness of crew on watch and provide them with ‘eyes in the boat’ so that they have early warning of potential issues at all times, day and night.

It provides comprehensive safety data about what is actually happening in the towed vessel, which cannot be seen by the crew on watch, so they can take action to prevent problems.”

Essential data identified in the Advanced Tow Protection collaboration transmitted live from the tender includes information about how long the bilge pumps have run in the past hour, bilge water levels, battery charge, as well as external factors including continuous measurement of surfing and yawing, trim and pitch, list angle and rolling.

All of these are considered key safety indicators of emerging problems with the tow. which can be viewed on TowPro’s screen display on the superyacht.  

TowPro will automatically trigger audible and visuals alerts if any safety indicators exceed pre-set thresholds, providing the crew with immediate early warning of any potential issues.  

Easy to install, TowPro does not require the fitting of any additional antennae on the superyacht, and uses industry standard NMEA connections to the yacht and tender.  The system can be installed either by the ship’s crew or during refit or maintenance.  

Paul Miller, Director of Underwriting at Millstream Underwriting Limited, says, “We, along with other insurers, have suffered a substantial increase in losses from towing of tenders and this coupled with the increase in tender/chase boat values has heightened concern, which has led insurers to impose increased premiums, deductibles and towing restrictions.

TowPro offers advanced tow protection system.

In an effort to ease the problem we collaborated with our Risk Management surveyor, Captains and TowPro in an effort to provide a solution to the problem. We believe fitting the TowPro system provides a solution that will allow insurers to reduce both the towing restrictions and deductibles to the benefit of both the Captains and Owners.”

Around 20% of superyachts already tow tenders or chase boats, and with the trend for larger and increasingly expensive chase-boats, the risk is only increasing.  Captains are finding towing becoming part of their operations as more and more superyachts add larger tenders and chase boats for the enjoyment and benefit of their charter guests.

advanced tow protection system.

Guest expectations and tight itineraries require superyachts to relocate at night, and the loss or damage to a tender as a result of towing is not only expensive but can drastically affect guest enjoyment, and cause disruption as the captain is forced to quickly find a replacement boat.”

Through working closely with all sectors of the insurance industry and with captains, TowPro is currently the only Advanced Tow Protection system on the market, and has been approved by marine insurers.

Leading insurers are already offering improved tender towing terms, such as towing by night or in stronger winds, to those superyachts which have installed TowPro, and more insurers are now considering this as the industry standard. 

advanced tow protection system from TowPro

“Captains planning next year’s charter season should be aware that their insurance renewal may expect them to an Advanced Towing protection system in order to give them operational flexibility when towing,” says Miller, and should aim to plan ahead by installing a system in advance, rather than trying to squeeze installation into a hectic charter and travel schedule.

A common current practice of installing an AIS on the tender contravenes IMO regulations which state that AIS is not to be used on a towed craft. Described as the difference between having an air bag, which helps protect the passenger in an accident, or having ABS brakes, which helps avoid having an accident in the first place, TowPro makes a key difference between commonly used tracking systems – which use GPS to help locate a lost tender – by providing the key safety information to avoid the tender or chase boat getting lost in the first place.  

TSM-Systems will be launching TowPro on Stand 07.609A in the Superyacht Pavilion at METS.   

TowPro retails at Euro 6,500 and the company is offering a special 20% DAME discount for orders taken before the end of November.  

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